OSHA Issues $14K in Penalties in Fatal Cell Tower Collapse

The fines proposed against S and S Communication Specialists Inc. are the maximum amount possible -- $7,000 per serious violation -- in connection with the collapse of two towers in Clarksburg, W.Va., on Feb. 1, 2014.

OSHA has cited a cellular tower contractor for two serious safety violations, fining S and S Communication Specialists Inc. the maximum amount possible -- $7,000 per violation -- in connection with the collapse of two towers in Clarksburg, W.Va., on Feb. 1, 2014. Three people died, two contract workers and a volunteer firefighter. The contract workers were replacing diagonal supports when the first tower fell, and other workers at the scene called 911 and began trying to extricate them. The firefighter had responded and was approaching the first tower when a second tower nearby also collapsed, with part of it striking the firefighter, they reported.

S and S Communication Specialists Inc. is based in Hulbert, Okla., according to OSHA.

"These deaths are a painful reminder of the dangers associated with communication towers and are at the root of OSHA's directive on communication tower construction activities," said Prentice Cline, OSHA's area director for Charleston. "OSHA is concerned about the alarming increase in preventable injuries and fatalities at communication tower work sites. The agency is collaborating with the National Association of Tower Erectors and other industry stakeholders to ensure that every communication tower employer understands how to protect workers performing this high-hazard work."

The company has 15 business days after receiving the citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet informally with Cline, or contest the findings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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